Pete Buttigieg, the Mayor from South Bend, Indiana, who recently announced his candidacy for the 2020 Presidential race is making headlines.
The youthful, articulate Mayor, is described in one news article this way. “He’s Christian, progressive, and gay.”
In a recent interview with the Washington Post Buttigieg said he wants his party “to embrace religion but not at the expense of excluding others.”
The article says Buttigieg is married to another man that he calls his husband. It describes his journey of faith and his desire for religion in his campaign “not so much used as a cudgel but invoked as a way of calling us to higher values.”
“I found it difficult to reconcile with organized religion,” Buttigieg said, as he discussed his personal tension between faith and sexuality while growing up. “Thankfully, it (same-sex marriage) had been settled as far as our diocese was concerned by the time I got married, because I wanted to be married in the church, and I’m glad we were able to do that,” he said.
The Mayor says he wants religion to be “less dogmatic.”
Be advised, this post is not about politics or party. But it raises the question, “Is Christianity inclusive or exclusive?”
Currently, I’m reading the Gospel of Luke. In it we see Jesus mixing, mingling and eating with sinners. Including those that the Pharisees had excluded, like the tax collector Zacchaeus. The Bible clearly teaches that the gospel is for all. No one is excluded.
In Christ we are one, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, social-economic status, or previous lifestyle (Gal. 3: 26-29). The call of Christ and His message of salvation is for everyone. He said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (LK. 5:32).
Christianity calls for commitment. Consecration. And cross-bearing. It means we must give up some things. We cannot be conformed to this world, but are challenged to be transformed by the power of His Word. To live a life of holiness, purity, and righteousness. As a result, some will be excluded. Because not everyone will submit to the Gospel’s requirements.
Jesus was once asked, “Are there few who be saved?”
His response. “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” (Lk. 13:23-24)
Because as Jesus proclaimed in the Mountain Message many want to walk the broad way that is popular. He said, “this way is easy.” (Matt 7:13-14). It doesn’t call for self-sacrifice. Self-denial. Or even self-control.
This week we’re in the Smoky Mountains. The road to our cabin is narrow. Winding. And steep. There are dangerous drop offs. You have to keep both hands on the steering wheel. Pay attention. Drive slowly. And stay focused on the road ahead. Christianity is like that.
The broad way is the super highway that embraces any belief or behavior no matter how bizarre. People want a religion that sanctions same-sex marriage. A homosexual lifestyle. Abortion. Transgenderism. Sexual freedom. And even one that denies the Deity of Jesus.
Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Lk 9:23-24).
The answer to our question is “yes.” Paradoxically, Christianity is both inclusive and exclusive.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman